Karaoke Dancer

I’d like some constructive feedback on my short story.

Jiyeon Park was the leader of the popular girl group Blue Rose. She was living her dream as a member of one of the most successful kpop groups in the industry. For the group’s ten year anniversary, she and the other three members were riding the subway to downtown Seoul for a shopping trip. But then, the girls heard a deafening screech and the power went out. Jiyeon was thrown from her seat as the subway crashed. Her vision faded to black as a throbbing pain began in her throat.
“Is she awake?”
“Her eyes are opening.”
After a team of doctors scurried around the hospital room, Jiyeon awoke after almost a week in recovery. She was surrounded by people clad in blue who began questioning her once she regained consciousness. The patient surveyed the room in search of her group mates to no avail. She wanted to ask for her phone but when she opened her lips, no sound came out. Her bottom lip quivered at the foreign silence and loneliness she was greeted with. She didn’t see anyone she recognized nor did she know if her members and management staff were safe.
“You suffered a huge impact on your throat and vocal cords, you won’t be able to talk anymore, let alone sing. I’m sorry but there is nothing we can do to fix this.” One of the surgeons explained, showing her a diagram of her larynx. After being discharged hours later, Jiyeon made her way back to the dorm. She saw a billboard with her face on it and the headline was shocking. She had been terminated from both Blue Rose and the company and was now being replaced.
Jiyeon cried at the thought of how quickly the world had moved on. Over a decade of blood, sweat and tears only gained her so much fame that she was easily forgotten within the span of one week. As she walked through the busy streets of Seoul, nobody seemed to recognize her, almost as if she had never been famous in the first place. Something she didn’t know she missed until that night.
Memories of her time with the group flooded back as she made her way through familiar streets and alleyways. Idol life had stripped her of her privacy as well as her time, dedicating so many hours to her job left very little time for her to pay attention to herself.
“Jiyeon…” A quiet voice said as the door opened. “You’re back.” It was the main vocalist Yooseon. The singer pointed to a pile of luggage next to the door. “We packed up all your stuff. The managers said you’re moving into your own apartment now.” Jiyeon wanted to thank Yooseon for the last decade but she already knew the group’s feelings towards their leader. She had found a fake farewell letter online written by the members detailing the situation. The letter felt phony and insincere, and Jiyeon was ashamed to have people think that that was how she felt about her decade in the music industry.
The scene at the hospital confirmed her thoughts, she had waited in that hospital room for hours and none of her members were there from the time she had awoken to the time she had left the hospital with her own two feet. Not being able to talk made her life much harder, her inability to speak and communicate the way she used to gave her anxiety. However, she would miss the stage.
While she had often complained about the work and long hours required for every performance, she loved it all the same. Her career was her childhood dream, an opportunity so many others had wished was their own. Jiyeon moved into a small apartment on her own and her friend Seomi came to visit and help her settle in.
“That’s horrible the way they terminated you without notice.” Seomi sighed as she poured them some tea. Jiyeon could only nod, feeling guilty and somehow ashamed. Had she failed as a leader? Had they been dissatisfied with her?
“You shouldn’t feel sorry. It could’ve happened to any of the other girls. You should get back to performing!” Seomi argued. “Here,” she handed her a flyer. “I’m actually looking for backup dancers for my newest album. Just fill this out and come to the audition.”
The dancer nodded reluctantly as she began filling out the form. She stopped at the very end where it asked for the applicant’s stage name. Jiyeon had been known as Yeon-ji on stage, but she decided to leave her old life behind and use her real name instead. She considered it a way to bid Blue Rose goodbye and start her life anew.
The audition was in one month, more than enough time to practice. She expanded her repertoire by watching the dances of other groups as well as looking into other styles of dance.
She had gotten permission to use the dance studio back at her old company. The only issue was that running into her old bandmates was inevitable.
“What are you doing here?” A taller girl approached her, the girl’s long hair billowing with each step as she crossed the floor to be face to face with Jiyeon. “You were terminated.” Jiyeon opened her mouth but then was met with her harsh reality. In reluctant defeat, she reached into her back pocket and displayed the pink flyer to the girl.
“SM is having backup dancer auditions?” The girl ripped up the audition paper right in front of Jiyeon’s eyes. “And you think you’re good enough?” Staring at the tatters of what remained of the flyer, Jiyeon could do nothing more than wait for the bully to leave. She clenched her teeth as she heard the footsteps leave the practice room. After about two hours of dancing, the mute woman walked through the halls of the studio and saw many familiar faces.

She walked by dozens of fellow artists yet none paid her any mind. She felt lonely, ignored and neglected, as she stared down the backs of former friends. But also felt peace, her life had changed so drastically ever since she had lost her ability to speak. She found solace in the silence that had taken her life by the reins.
Being an idol proved to be one of the hardest things Jiyeon had ever done and it had taken her away from many of the small pleasures in life. As a dancer, she was free from extra activities that idols would be compelled to participate in. She was even able to visit her family, which she rarely had the chance to do as a member of Blue Rose.
The audition for backup dancers was just as packed as the audition to actually become an idol. There were at least fifty candidates from what Jiyeon could see and some were from foreign countries.
“Jiyeon Park.” Her name was called by the auditioning staff. “Please come this way.” The woman followed the person to a small room with mirrors lining the wall. It looked oh so similar to the practice room from her days as an idol. The music began to play, and Jiyeon mentally berated herself for choosing the song that began to fill the room. It was the song that had begun her journey as a member of Blue Rose, their debut that had powerful moves that would usually be performed by a boy group.
With every move came small hints of nostalgia creeping into her mind. The smiling and tired faces of her members, as well as the laughs they shared. The feeling welled up in her like an overflowing fountain. Tears rolled down her face as she continued her dance, she couldn’t stop them nor did she have the luxury to. The song was reaching its bridge and Jiyeon took a pause.
She looked at everyone in the room briefly, something that came with performing. She made eye contact with each and every applicant as well as the judges. She didn’t recognize any of the faces, but she smiled. In her previous vocation, she’d occasionally lock eyes with a fellow member, which filled her with hope and faith in the success of that performance.
Jiyeon smiled, the biggest smile ever in her entire life. She couldn’t explain the ecstatic feeling she was experiencing, but even though she was alone, even though there wasn’t someone cheering for her, she was happy. The song ended and the judges gave a standing ovation. Jiyeon bowed gratefully and was about to leave before she felt a tap on her shoulder.
“You were outstanding, we’d be very lucky to have you.” One of the judges handed her an acceptance letter. Jiyeon was utterly speechless. She blinked in disbelief and looked back between the letter and the kind eyes of the judge. She nodded her head quickly and gratefully, accepting the offer at once.
Jiyeon prepared for her first performance, as a backup for SM’s popular girl group Red Velvet. She was ready and felt lucky to get to perform with such talented artists. But there was one thing she felt she had to do. For the first time in over half a year, Jiyeon opened her Instagram account and made a post. She took a picture of her in the waiting room and she began typing in the caption.
“To whom is reading this,
For my fans who have supported me over the last decade and previously, I want to thank you so much for everything you have done to help me through my career as a kpop idol. You helped me accomplish my dream even if it only lasted for a short epoch in my life. I hope you still root for me and continue to support Blue Rose even though I am no longer part of the group.
To my members, you have been the best group of friends I could have ever asked for this last decade. We shared many memories, laughs, tears, and our friendship will always have a place in my heart. I hope we will remain good friends as we go our separate paths and continue onto the next phases of our lives. Please continue to keep the Blue Rose fans happy and keep fighting.
To all who are reading, I wanted to let you know that I am moving on from being an idol and that I am happy moving on to the next stage of my life. I will never be able to speak or sing again, and it makes me sad that I cannot share my thoughts with the world verbally. I can only do so through my actions and written word.”
The curtain rose and Jiyeon took her place behind the idols. The music began and Jiyeon smiled before the crowd. She heard cheers and screams but they knew that they weren’t for her and that the people in the audience weren’t focusing on her.
“I am now a backup dancer for the idols and groups of SM Entertainment, please come watch my performances and cheer for the idols who I support, that is the equivalent of rooting for me. I hope you will learn to love the new Jiyeon Park.”